Data | Bihar Assembly election 2020: A matter of alliance cohesion

The Mahagathbandhan fell short due to the poor performance of the Congress in the seats it contested

The election turned out to be a close affair between the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the RJD-led Mahagathbandan (MGB). The MGB fell short due to the poor performance of the Congress in the seats it contested and also because of the AIMIM’s spoiler effect. The JD(U) also fared relatively worse than the BJP in the NDA fold, but the latter’s significantly better performance than in 2015 helped the coalition sail through, LJP’s defection notwithstanding.

How the poll played out


Mapping the seats

The maps show wins in 2020 and 2015 Assembly elections and leads in 2019 Lok Sabha election.


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Strike rate

BJP’s strike rate (SR; seats won as a % of those contested) improved to 66.4% from 33.8% in 2015 while that of RJD and Congress’ fell. Left parties’ SR improved significantly to 55.2%. The JD(U)’s fell drastically as well.

Also read: In Bihar, the subdued narrative of the silent voter

Vote share

The BJP had the best contested vote share and only the CPI(ML)(L) came close to matching it. The Congress dragged the MGB down with a low vote share.



The BJP won 78.4% & 60.7% of contests against the Congress & the RJD. The JD(U) won against the Congress handily but fared poorly against the Left & the RJD.

Also read: Data | How past polls guided the seat sharing strategy between BJP and JD(U) in Bihar elections

Party performances across rural and urban regions

The BJP improved its contested vote shares in 2020 across rural/urban areas from its 2015 numbers, except for a minor drop in urban areas while the JD(U) shed vote share across areas with a major drop in urban areas. The RJD & INC also lost ground.


Party performances across regions in the State

Compared to 2015, the BJP increased its vote share across all regions except Bhojpur. The BJP’s strongest show came in Mithila while the RJD’s came in Bhojpur.

Also read: Data | Past poll performance across various regions guided NDA seat-sharing deal for Bihar elections

Victory margins

The table shows the number of seats won/led by parties across various margin ranges. Margin is represented as a % of total votes. The number of seats where parties came runner-up across margin-ranges is also noted. 15 seats were won/ led with a <1% margin and another 28 with a margin between 1 and 2.5%.


Outside factors

The AIMIM and LJP did not win many seats but they secured enough votes to emerge a spoiler for the MGB and NDA respectively.

Also read: Employment, finally an election issue

Sources: 2020 Results from the Election Commission of India; maps from Datameet GitHub; past election results from the Trivedi Centre for Political Data; regional classifications from CSDS; rural-urban divisions using night light data from The SHRUG Development Data Lab


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